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Gladys’ amazing milestone

Thursday, 27th March, 2014

Gladys Mills with her letter from the Queen congratulating her on reaching 100. Gladys Mills with her letter from the Queen congratulating her on reaching 100.

By Nick Gibbs

She saw the Sydney Harbour Bridge built and was there when the Japanese submarines invaded the harbour, but for ex-Sydneysider Gladys Mills, it was a Broken Hill landmark that left her in awe.

“When I first saw the North Mine I just thought ‘What is that?’” said Mrs Mills, recalling her first visit to the city in 1938.

Mrs Mills, who celebrates her 100th birthday today, intended on staying for two weeks but instead found herself building a life a world away from the big smoke.

“It was a hard place, but a good place,  she said of her first years in Broken Hill. “You always have a friend.” 

The dust storms also left a lasting impression. “I’ve seen a couple of good ones,” she said.

While working as a house maid in Pitt Street, Sydney, Mrs Mills met Bill, a BH local and the man who would become her husband.

“He said ‘I’ll take you to the pictures,”  she said explaining that she had just turned down a number of other suitors.

After Bill returned home, they exchanged letters before he announced he was to be married.

“’To who’, I asked?” Mrs Mills recollected, before Bill said he meant her. 

So she came here in January 1938, planning to  stay two weeks.

“I’ ve been here ever since,” she said. 

The couple married in September that year and raised four children.

Mrs Mills was kept busy as her family grew and she created the home which she lives in to this day.

“There was no bathroom, no shed, no laundry,” she said, detailing the work she and Bill put into the property.

There is no big secret to reaching 100, according to Mrs Mills, although she said she never ate take away food - or tried to tried to be someone she was not. 

“I think a lot of it is just being yourself. 

“I’ve never smoked and didn’t very often have a drink.” 

The birthday party will be held on Saturday at the Astra hotel from 2pm to 4pm and everyone is welcome to drop in for a cuppa or help blow out the candles at around 3pm.

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